By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons survived a late rally from the Far Eastern University Tamaraws during the opening day of the UAAP Men’s basketball, 61-55, last Wednesday.
With the addition of Ricci Rivero, the Fighting Maroons looked to put on a show with every fast break they execute, as the high flying star from the De La Salle University threw a nasty alley-oop dunk from Jun Manzo early in the first quarter, electrifying the crowd and leaving the Smart Araneta Coliseum buzzing.
It was not Juan, but Javi Gomez de Liano who carried the scoring load.
The savvy small forward shot lights out, scoring a game-high 22 points for UP including difficult acrobatic baskets that answered FEU’s crucial run down the stretch.
FEU nearly stole UP’s lead as the Tamaraws fought back from an 11-point deficit to tie the game at 55 with 4:06 remaining in the final canto but Juan, Javi, and Bright Akhuetie delivered in the clutch to help seal the win.
Jun Manzo then iced the game with his two free throws to increase the lead to 6.
UP star Kobe Paras wasn’t able to play his debut game in the seniors’ division because of an ankle sprain and will be expected to see action the next 2 games.